So yesterday I posted some closing thoughts on ending CHEW and all that. What I didn’t mention was that there were a couple things I sorta wish we’d gotten to do during the comic’s life.
- I wish we’d managed to do that Scratch n’ Sniff cover. But in the end, it was just too disgusting and the prospect of storing a product that smelled was the big no-sell for us.
- I wish we’d done a Chromium cover. FYI: They cost a bajillion dollars to make. And apparently there’s only ONE dude who makes them. I like to imagine he lives in some shack in Vietnam, worshiped by the locals as some sort of shiny god. But I digress.
- I wish I’d gotten to write an issue. We talked about it a time or two, but it just didn’t happen.
Cut to December 2016.
I was in the aforementioned Swamp of Despond (see yesterday’s post), working on commissions in between floating around my house like one of those Ghost Army Guys in Return of the King. Around that time, I got a request from a guy named Noah who was wanting to propose to his lady through a few panels he was hoping to commission me to do. Being a sucker for love, I agreed to take on the job.
From there, I went entirely overboard. In a good way.
What started as “a few panels” morphed into a 5-page, never-before-seen CHEW comic, written, drawn and colored by me, with color assists from longtime CHEW color assistant Taylor Wells and lettered by Layman himself. Because, look, I don’t know how to half-ass anything. If I’m gonna do a CHEW story for a guy, I’m gonna do a CHEW story for a guy.
I suppose that makes it part of the CHEW canon. It’s a silly little story, and I’m pretty proud of it. I picture it as taking place somewhere between issues 30 and 42.
Thanks to Noah for allowing me to be a part of his special moment and for being a good sport all around. And thanks to his lady Andrea for not saying “No”, thus making this comic a rather sad exercise in futility. Congrats, guys.
And thanks to Layman and Taylor helping me bless some CHEW fans. And for letting me work out a last bit of personal closure.
Hope you enjoy this silly little addition to the CHEW saga below.
So…once again, it’s been a while since my last post, but I have a good excuse for my procrastinating. I killed a comic.
The last year was a pretty big rollercoaster for me. I started off 2016 with the reality of CHEW’s end, after nearly 8 years, hitting me full in the face. And with that reality came a lot of questions about my future. CHEW was what established my career, and chances are, it’ll be the thing that most readers will remember me for. I don’t really mind that, as the book has done more than John or I could’ve ever imagined, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work.
The biggest question in my head was the same one folks have been bombarding me with every time they run into me at a show:
“What’s next for you?”
And frankly, after 8 years of putting everything I had into CHEW, that question scared the crap outta me. I’m not a big fan of change.
See, this whole thing has been a whirlwind for me. I’ve never really wanted to do a 60+ issue epic, and I certainly never dreamed that my first major published gig would do what CHEW has done. But here we are. And a lot of 2016 was split between making peace with the work we’ve done, making peace with the fact we actually succeeded, and making peace with moving forward in its wake.
We killed CHEW on November 1, 2016. I colored the last page, walked out of my office, came home, ate dinner with my family and spent the next month in a fog. And in that month, I got a ton of messages from CHEW readers. All of them thanking us for the ride, and all of them sorta grieving the fact that it was over. I’ve done my share of grieving it as well.
And during that time, as the fog cleared, I began to write a story I began percolating on back in January 2016. In the last two months I’ve written the first two issues of what I’m picturing as a 20-issue finite series, and the next 3 scripts are quickly writing themselves. I’ve yet to pitch it anywhere yet, but I’m aiming to release it later this year. I’ll be drawing it as well. It’s a fairly personal story that I’m truly hoping CHEW fans and new fans will give a shot. I think it’s a very fresh story that’s unlike anything else out there. That’s not hype. That’s just an honest observation.
My tentative goal is to write the bulk of the series before it ever hits shelves. Though I’m well-versed at handling art duties on a monthly comic, I’ve never shouldered the burden of also having to write one. So I’m trying to be smart about this, and so far it’s been massively fulfilling.
Fingers crossed, I’m aiming to announce the project in the summer/early fall.
In the meantime, as I work on this new project, I’ve been taking some freelance work to keep the lights on. Took a huge commission list back in December (samples below), and as I wrap up the last few of those, I’ll be opening to a second wave of commissions. Those interested can hit me through the CONTACT section of this site, and be sure to click the “YES, This is a Commission Request Button”.
In addition to that, I’ll be uploading the remaining issues of CHEW art, along with some fun new original art. And we’re tweaking the site a bit to make browsing the Store a bit more enjoyable.
I’m also now on Instagram and Facebook, in addition to my Twitter and Tumblr. I post less than I used to these days, as I’ve been pretty focused on making my new series the absolute best I can, without too many distractions.
Anyway, that’s all I got for now. Tune back in tomorrow, as I’ll be posting a special commissioned 5-page comic that I think CHEW fans will enjoy.
Yup. It’s been way too long since my last post. Between moving to a new home, deadlines and the usual busyness, I’ve been swamped. Sorry about that. Back in the saddle with new Warm-Up Sketches. Been screwing with inking more with brush. Typically I’m more comfortable using pens of some sort, as they tend to give me the most control, but these have been fun.
First up is a Videogame theme. Cuz why not?
And now Mikey. This one might be my fave of the bunch.
Well, that was fun. First wave of Daily-ish sketches went pretty well. I’ll be heading to Alamo City Comic Con with Layman this weekend, then starting a new batch of warm-up sketches next week. Suggestions?
Had a lotta fun with this one. Raph tends to be the badass, loose cannon of TMNT, so I had a blast making him a foil to the more stoic Leonardo I drew yesterday. Lotta scars and bad attitude, so this was a good excuse to play with a more exaggerated facial expression than Leo’s.
Tomorrow, I think I’ll do Donnie.